“Exceeded my expectations.” The enthusiastic comment from my lunch companion summed up our delicious meal at Las Espuelas Mexican Restaurant, located at 4306 228th St. S.W., in Mountlake Terrace. Greeted by a friendly waitress, we were escorted to a comfy booth amidst tasteful western décor. The name, Las Espuelas, means “the spurs,” which was inspired by the owners’ love of horses and the west.
Two different styles of salsa and a bowl of crispy warm chips arrived immediately. We noshed as we perused the extensive menu.
Good fresh red salsa: the smooth red blend of fresh cilantro chilies and green onion fit the bill and made my taste buds happy. Salsa Pico was fresh and chock full of shredded red cabbage, chopped red onion and tomatoes. Both bowls were empty by the time our entrees arrived.
It was lunch hour and I was driving, but I did peruse the cocktail menu. I noted that Las Espuelas uses organic tequila: Azunia Platinum. Azuñia Tequila is a smooth, clean craft tequila that gains its authentic flavor from the local terroir. The description of Cilantro Julep caught my eye. Muddled cilantro, lime juice, agave and a splash of pineapple? Bingo, a great incentive to return again, when I’m not the designated driver.
Excited by all the choices in the vegetarian section of the menu, my companion chose the spinach enchiladas. Covered in a sour cream and green chili sauce, the tender corn tortillas were filled with fresh sautéed and still green spinach. The standard accompaniments are white rice and black beans, but our waitress assured us we could request any of the bean and rice combinations. It worked well for my purposes; I got to sample everything.
I always order the chile relleno: it’s become my standard of excellence for any Mexican restaurant I visit. The quality of this dish bodes well for the rest of the items on menu, in my opinion.
My entrée arrived. A freshly roasted and stuffed poblano pepper, covered in a light and spicy tomato sauce. Spanish rice and refried beans completed my plate’s contents. No need for a knife to carve thick walls of a canned chili creation. Creamy white cheese flowed from the pepper each time I pressed my fork into the light and tender poblano.
To satisfy our meat lover in the family, I ordered the carne asada. I sampled a bite or two of the fork tender skirt steak and spoonful of the guacamole. I hoped he wouldn’t miss the garnishes- grilled green onions and jalapeno… I just couldn’t help myself. Grilling a Jalapeno pepper makes the heat dissipate and I eat them like candy.
We asked for to-go containers. Lunch portions were so generous we could not finish, and still have room for dessert.
Ah, the desserts, or postres in Espanola… the menu presented an array of tempting choices. I’d already viewed a luscious picture online, a small chocolate cake that oozed its still warm and liquid chocolate filling onto the plate. After much conversation with our server, she indicated the item, simply listed as chocolate cake. The modest description belies the dark and delicious cake that arrived on the beautifully decorated plate. The very center of this small chocolate cake is molten. Once pierced the cake’s exterior indeed released a river of chocolate depicted in the photo I saw. We sopped up the melted chocolate with forkfuls of the moist cake.
Intrigued by pineapple upside-down ake, we ordered, and our second delighted our taste buds as well. An individual cake topped with a perfect ring of pineapple was moist and delicious and disappeared…down to the last dab of sweet brown sugar sauce.
When you need a taste of authentic Mexican cuisine, I recommend you dine at Las Espuelas.
A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood.